Monday marked the return of Frank Thomas to the White Sox line-up for the first time since July 6th of last season. Although I did not attend the game, I made sure to give Frank a standing O from my backyard when he first came back. He was rather unspectacular on the day. He was obviously a little over-anxious in his first at bat, swinging at a pitch above the letters. Later he would calm down, with a walk, a towering foul ball, and line out to right field. He was pulled after three plate appearances, however, complaining of a tweaked hip flexor.
For most of the game, I was milling around my back yard, eating, drinking, playing with my dog, the normal type of Memorial Day activities, Rooney and Farmer providing me play-by-play for most of the day. I would come inside to watch the key at-bats on the tube. So, when I came inside to catch Frank's 4th at-bat in the 7th, you can imagine the blue streak I let loose when Timo Perez was up in his place. I immediately turned off my television and stormed back outside to drown my sorrows in a few Honeyweiss'.
Perhaps even more disturbing than Timo batting for Frank in the 7th, was Timo providing the winning hit in the 9th. This only further guarantees that he will not be on the outside-looking-in when the roster get tightened up at the end of the week. Great. God forbid we have anyone useful on the roster.
I caught SportsCenter, and their 5 minute reaming of Ozzie Guillen for his decisions in the 9th, a few minutes ago. What a bunch of garbage. Jeff Brantley was going on and on about how important it was to start the inning with Dustin Hermanson because he was the "closer." Newsflash, Jeff, who cares? Mark Buehrle had thrown about 90 pitches through 8 innings. He had gone 9 innings of 1-run baseball in his last outing, which just happened to be against this very same Angels team. You'd be the first one to criticize him if he pulled Buehrle with such a low pitch count and the bullpen blew it.
Buehrle gave up a single to Bengi Molina to lead off the inning. Were it not for a slowly turned double play on a Juan Rivera ground ball, he would have had 2 outs, and nobody on. Instead, he had a just one out and a man at first. So when Jose Molina singled, putting the tying run in scoring position, it was time to pull him. Can't criticize Ozzie for that. Now, with Dallas McPherson coming to bat, the obvious call is for Damaso Marte. Can't blame Ozzie for that. Once again, a defensive miscue by Tadahito Iguchi on what should have been a double play, resulted in all runners being safe. Can't blame Ozzie for that. The next batter was Robb Quinlan. Here's the first time you can rightfully question Ozzie's decision.
Quinlan hits lefties very well. Do you want to face Quinlan with Marte, or bring in Hermanson to face Darrin Erstad, who would have pinch-hit for Quinlan had a righty been on the mound? Neither is an offensive force. Marte actually got the job done against McPherson. There was really no reason to turn to Hermanson, who you'll remember retired the last two Angels he saw on balls that would have been HRs in USCF. Luckily that game was played in Anaheim. Ozzie stuck with Marte. I would have made the same decision. From there, we all know what happened.
By all means this should have been a loss. The offense couldn't get runners home in bases loaded, nobody out, situations. The defense disappeared in the 9th inning. It had all the makings of another terrible loss. Timo will be the one who gets all of the glory for the Victory, but no one will remember who got on base for him. No one will remember that had he come through earlier in the game we probably don't need that ninth inning comeback.
We may have won the game, but that only further masks the problems with this team. They are obvious to even the casual observer. Yet, all you'll hear from them is "best record in baseball." --- Not for long, if things don't get fixed around here.